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  1. Upper abdominal area in spasm, prevents me from breathing.

    Interesting.. a search confirms what your saying but also a lot of ambiguity and confusion arounds its use as a muscle relaxer.. perhaps docs were prescribing it for that a few years back as part of a study.. or maybe it was OK'd as a go-to placebo for certain acute pain conditions.. I know my mom was prescribed Naproxen 500 as a muscle relaxant back then... perhaps it was just an ethical use of the placebo effect.
  2. Upper abdominal area in spasm, prevents me from breathing.

    Disclaimer: I am not giving medical advice, just adding a true story that might be similar to yours.. A few times I had severe spasms when I was really young which, at their worst, severely restricted my ability to breathe.. The first time was the worst and I could not pinpoint the trigger.. I also had a history of a few instances when the wind was knocked out of me.. On the third time it got really bad, I called a doctor who was not in the office at the time.. When he returned my call, he told me to take two Aleves which = one prescription dose muscle relaxant.. Same active ingredient.. Naprosyn/Naproxen I think it was.. whichever is the generic. It did the trick, it relaxed the inner smooth muscle contraction and I could breath fully once again.. the problem never occurred again and I never had to take the medication again for it. Perhaps knowing I could rely on an OTC med for it was enough.
  3. Mulberries (or berRies in general)

    Red Mulberry (Morus rubra) excerpt from Tom Brown's Guide to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants by Tom Brown, Jr. "Grandmother was on her way to a huge mulberry patch that grew near an old abandoned farmhouse. She said I could help her dig the newer plants' roots, which she would powder and make into a laxative for her patients. We dug for hours, collecting the choicest roots, still making sure that the conservation of the plants were kept in mind. During the whole process, I was eating the mulberries, not noticing whether they were ripe or not, a common fault among young boys. This continued for hours as I got lost in Grandmother's stories and the methodic collecting of roots. When I finally got up off my knees and began to walk home, I felt strangely sick and dizzy. The landscape felt as if it were made of liquid and I was a small boat. Everything was moving up and down. Animal and bird voices sounded strange and mystical. I felt disoriented and forgot where I was and where I was going. Out of the corner of my eye I began to see things move; shadows became animated, and colors strange. The sickness continued until I fell to the ground vomiting, yet laughing at the overall hilarity of the situation. The condition worsened and I began to tremble, feeling paranoid and extremely nervous. I mistook every rustle of the brush for a wild dog, and my imagination began to run wild. Grandmother knew instantly what I had done and helped me slowly back to her house. I did not know that the unrip berries can cause violent upset stomach and nervousness. Nor did I realize that they also contained hallucinogens. Nevertheless, I was sick and not getting any better. Grandmother put me to bed and gave me a cup of mullein flower tea to settle my stomach and calm my nerves. I awoke the next morning with Grandfather, Rick, and Grandmother sitting around the bed, waiting and watching. My vision slowly cleared, but my head pounded very badly; my stomach still remained very queasy, and I felt weak. Another day slipped by as I drifted in and out of pain and sleep. The following day I felt much better. The events of the past few days seemed like a distant nightmare, fuzzy memories at best as if they never happened in reality. Grandmother was in the garden at her drying racks. The roots we had collected two days before were now dry. Lovingly, she scraped the bark from the root using a knife held at a right angle, a procedure which produced a coarse granular dust. This dust she would use for effective treatment of constipation in her patients or for herself. I helped her out but had to be filled in completely as to what had happened to me. The disorientation was still with me, and I felt as if I had lost two days of my life."
  4. Not that I'm paranoid or anything but uh.......

    Yes, my understanding is she was a volunteer teachers assistant, hence the confusion. Thanks, I don't really want to post the details but yes my family was as directly affected as one could be without losing a child, thankfully.
  5. Not that I'm paranoid or anything but uh.......

    I'm close to several people involved that worked at the school and I can assure that you can discard any conspiracy theory that relies on either the principle, Dawn Hochsprung, Adam and Nancy Lanza as well as some of the older staff as fictitious characters. They were all very real people.
  6. The computer simulation idea is being taken seriously.. http://www.huffingto..._n_1957777.html and a possibility separately arrived it by superstring theorists:
  7. I'm so busy these day I regretfully can never quite engage these sorts of discussions properly but this is what this thread made me think of.. Processes that are highly "sensitive to initial conditions": trance, meditation sessions, conversations or any interaction for that matter, ceremony, entheogenic experiences (why else the emphasis on "set and setting").
  8. Two distinctions that might muddy up the waters. Hypnosis is a deeply divided field.. for one there is traditional hypnosis which defines hypnotic phenomenon as a heightened state of suggestibility and then there's naturalistic hypnosis which relies on evocation, meaning that all hypnotic phenomenon occurs from within the subject experiencing it, from the inside out, and the hypnotist's job is to guide the person to access these inner resources. True Ericksonian hypnosis as taught at the Milton H Erickson foundation is naturalistic and sees suggestion/authoritative/traditional style as potentially anathema. I started with traditional training and have since converted to naturalistic because it feels so much more respectful of clients and when you go naturalistic form traditional (as Erickson himself did) it is a major paradigm shift. Moreover the history of hypnosis bears out this distinction: In the old days, when Mesmer, Charcot and Janet etc first did trance, they noticed the typical trance phenomenon occurred spontaneously (amnesia, age regression, catalepsy, automatic writing, hallucinations, time distortion etc).. It was only after the fact they decided to deliberately suggest these things in trance to both convince the people that they were in trance and to deepen the trance.. So there's a strong case to be made that in spite of mountains of intructors and books that will swear otherwise, hypnosis cannot be operationally defined by the degree of response to suggestion since the phenomenon are natural spontaneous occurrences in states of trance.. Suggestibility, on the other hand is ubiquitous in all forms of therapy, society, social interactions, cultural etc.. Even asking someone "how do you feel about XYZ?" is itself a "process suggestion" because it generates an internal response from outside the person. I know this is very controversial to many people trained in traditional hypnosis but many of the brightest minds in the field (Rossi, Hilgard, O'Hanlon) seem to concur that suggestion is at best something that enhances trance phenomena, rather than the essence.. and I know that I've probably stated otherwise even on this board, but I've found that approaching it this way, people that are not normally hypnotizable can suddenly do all sorts of things in trance and I think that was a major key to why Erickson could have success where others failed..
  9. Where spirituality and science meet, Genes and Taoism.

    I think that piece about dreams is referring to specifically REM (rapid eye movement ) stage of sleep, so it would make intuitive sense that it would be somehow related to waking learning experiences given the literal movement of the eyeballs, but who's to say what is happening during the slow-wave (SW) state? I tend to restrain from the reductionist assumption that the mind (or subjective experience) is a product of brain activity..I think of these as different levels of analysis that exist simultaneously. Another favorite researcher of mine, Dan Seigel, who studies the effects of mindfulness meditation on the brain, neuroscience, and trauma runs a research center at UCLA. He describes the mind, the brain, and relationships as "primes". And that just like prime numbers in math, any one of these three cannot be reduced or explained as a function of the other two.. and in many instances, the word "brain" is just short hand referring to the entire body as a system. And each of the three can influence and shape the other, for example, the brain can drag the mind around (which could be what we call pathology), relationships can influence the brain/body and vice versa—for example when Salvidor Minuchin demonstrated that he could change a diabetic child's blood sugar levels by making structural changes in the family system (relationships). What is probably most validating for meditators is that in many cases, mental (or subjective) experience of mindfulness—and probably many other forms of meditation, mindfulness just happens to have the best research—can literally pull the brain out of a rut (pathology). So for me it's exiting to see the bio/psycho/social paradigm being embraced more and more across disciplines because it really points to the interdependence of everything. What is cool about Rossi and colleagues IMO is his research seems to be bridging the split between mind and body so that's another paradigm shift in sciences that is particularly relevant to psychology, sociology, spirituality, the arts, music etc. Sorry if I bombarded with to many tech terms.. didn't mean to alienate. Since I got to grad school I've gone to town with using its resources for stuff I find interesting.. Abstracts are basically for getting an idea of whether or not you want to read the article, so I'd say you used it right.. Basically an abstract is a concise summary of what the hypothesis was, how it was tested, and whether or not results supported the hypothesis.. useful to know if you have to sift through a large amount of research in a short period of time, but I agree it can get very dense since it's function is to compress an often huge undertaking into a paragraph.
  10. Where spirituality and science meet, Genes and Taoism.

    Yeah, no problem Anamatva. One of the most fascinating things I have read about gene expression and brain growth is that brain gene expression during sleep depends on prior waking experience.. That during REM sleep, a gene called zif-268 is up-regulated following exposure to an enriched environment (which is pretty much another way of saying if you have an interesting day and learned or discovered something new as opposed to a dull and monotonous day you are actually generating brain growth at some level). The initial discovery was in 1999. The original study describes a window of neuronal plasticity in rats during REM sleep that follows a rich waking experience.. suggesting a possible mechanism whereby previous waking experiences can contribute to long lasting changes in the brain. There's been even more support since which has pretty much confirmed it in humans (as well as uncovered even richer data), a pilot study in 2008 with three human subjects and very recently with 21 human subjects in Italy (to which I only have the audio from a conference where this study was presented, I'm not sure whether its even been published in english yet): 11 men, 10 women, median age 40, DNA microanalysis of white blood cells collected after treatment, before treatment and 24 hours after.. It would be amazing to find even one, such as zif-268, but they found something like something like 90 genes up regulated and 24 genes down regulated after the treatment which I believe was a Rossi/Ericksonian style mind-body hypnosis intervention aimed towards evoking creative exploration of one's internal experience. Rossi is all about the ever growing creative edge between the conscious and unconscious.. Abstract In most mammalian species studied, two distinct and successive phases of sleep, slow wave (SW), and rapid eye movement (REM), can be recognized on the basis of their EEG profiles and associated behaviors. Both phases have been implicated in the offline sensorimotor processing of daytime events, but the molecular mechanisms remain elusive. We studied brain expression of the plasticity-associated immediate-early gene (IEG) zif-268 during SW and REM sleep in rats exposed to rich sensorimotor experience in the preceding waking period. Whereas nonexposed controls show generalized zif-268 down-regulation during SW and REM sleep, zif-268 is upregulated during REM sleep in the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus of exposed animals. We suggest that this phenomenon represents a window of increased neuronal plasticity during REM sleep that follows enriched waking experience. Further info for anyone interested.. (also Ernest Rossi's site has most of the important studies he was a part of over the last 30 years) original 1999 article Neuroplasticity, Psychosocial Genomics, and the Biopsychosocial Paradigm in the 21st Century
  11. Where spirituality and science meet, Genes and Taoism.

    In light of neuroscience and studies using DNA microarray technology over the last ten years, there is no question that meditation/qi gong/tai chi and related disciplines would have some effect on gene expression. Most people think of classical mendelian deterministic genetics when they think of when they think or read about genes but are not aware of the new functional genomics of molecular biology that is generating the new DNA technology. The new functional genomics of molecular biology focuses on broad patterns of gene expression rather than one-gene/one-function or one trait approach of early mendelian genetics. The separation between nature (genes) and nurture (life experience) is old outdated dogma that hasn't really been taken seriously by researchers since at least the 60s as far as I can tell. Some of these broader patterns relevant to this thread include: Immediate early Genes: IEG's respond to psychosocial cues and significant life events in a matter of minutes, as the mediators between nature and nurture they receive signals from the environment to activate genes that code for the formation of proteins which then carry out the adaptive functions of the cell in health and illness. Behavioral State Related Gene Expression:Different states of behavior and consciousness are associated with different patterns of behavioral state related gene expression, a genetic source of behavior that can be modulated by psychosocial cues and cultural rituals to facilitate health performance and healing. Activity-Dependent Gene Expression: learning to do something new initiates cascades of molecular genomic processes termed activity-dependent gene expression, this class of genes generates the proteins and growth factors that signal stem cells in the brain to differentiate into newly functioning neurons with new connections between them. Likewise, stem cells in tissues though out the body receive psychogenomic signals then enable them to replace injured cells with healthy ones: a process which is proposed to be a basic dynamic of the healing placebo response. The novelty-numinosum-neurogenisis effect: novelty, enriching life experiences, and exercise associated with a positive sense of curiosity and wonder can turn on activity-dependent gene expression to construct and reconstruct the brain and how it works throughout the lifespan. The novelty-numinosum-neurogenesis effect documents how highly motivated states of consciousness can turn on and focus gene expression, protein synthesis, neurotransmitters, and neurogenesis in daily creative work. If you want more info check out the Psychobiology of Gene Expression: Neuroscience and Neurogenisis in hypnosis and the healing arts, by Ernest Rossi.. it's quite dense but is pulls a ton of information together since the human genome was mapped in 2000. To a great degree is outlines many more very important questions need to be investigated. There's also a free E-book here that is related: It is mostly geared towards licensed therapists who practice naturalistic (Ericksonian) hypnotherapy or psychotherapy, but it details many of the themes I mentioned that are certainly relevant to spirituality, arts, meditative disciplines for sure..
  12. Easy Zen for Everyone

    I think that would be well worth it. The key phrase from the platform sutra elsewhere translated as: "one should give rise to a mind that abides nowhere" Master Hua translates mainly as: "To produce that thought that is nowhere supported" That seems really significant to me and worthy of serious contemplation. Thought you might find that as helpful I did if you hadn't heard it that way before.
  13. Easy Zen for Everyone

    Thanks for this recommendation. This translation just showed up in the mail this week. It is excellent!
  14. Easy Zen for Everyone

    Thanks for this, it reminds me of what originally attracted me to Zen and meditation almost 20 years ago. I have started studying Hung Fa Yi (Shaolin Wing Chun, Red Boat lineage) and have been looking to dig deeper into Ch'an as a result. I can definitely relate to metaphysical/philosophical questions answered with a swift blow!
  15. Can Meditation be bad for you ?

    Dialectic Behavior Therapy, which is basically Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) plus mindfulness meditation skills is the recommended empirically supported standard of practice for borderline personality disorder. Borderline personality disorder has a lot of near psychotic features which can involve, self mutilating, suicidal, inappropriate or intense anger, or even diabolic homicidal impulses in some cases. BPD is a very stigmatized diagnosis to receive because of how frustrating they can be to work with. Mindfulness meditation is the core skill taught because it is the ideal platform to teach self management of wildly inappropriate emotions and impulses. It is the current standard of care for treatment of borderlines because it as such a strong support as an evidence based practice for symptom reduction in both random clinical trials and as demonstrated by agencies that track their own outcomes.